A Belfast man standing trial on sex offences against a 14-year old girl branded a rape allegation "a joke", a court heard on Wednesday.
William George McVeigh, from Forthriver Green in the Ballygomartin area of the city, is accused of raping the highly intoxicated teenager in Woodvale Park in the early hours of October 31, 2015.
The 28-year old is also facing two 'alternative' charges, namely sexual activity with a child and sexual assault.
He denies all the offences, and as the trial entered its second week at Belfast Crown Court, he was called to the witness box where he was questioned by both his barrister and a Crown prosecutor.
The jury has already heard evidence and watched CCTV footage which suggested the 14-year-old was so drunk after attending a birthday party that she was seen stumbling about the street, and fell on several occasions.
After leaving a pub with a friend and walking towards Lanark Way just after midnight, the girl met McVeigh - who had been drinking vodka at a friend's house - outside a Chinese takeaway.
Despite telling her parents she was staying at a friend's house, the girl arrived home at 3.30am covered in mud and leaves. She told her mother that she couldn't recall exactly what happened the night before, but said she remembered being in Woodvale Park with an older man.
That older man - McVeigh - claimed that after meeting the girl outside the Chinese they went for a walk before having consensual sex at the junction of Ainsworth Street and Caledon Street.
Both during police interview after the incident, and giving evidence in front of a jury today, McVeigh maintained that the sex was consensual - and that she initiated it.
When asked by his barrister "did you rape her", McVeigh answered: "No I did not, definitely not." And when asked what he made of the rape allegation, he replied: "It's a joke."
McVeigh admitted that he knew the girl was "blocked", that he saw her staggering in the street and that he helped her to her feet on at least once occasion when she fell in front of him. He said that at the time, he was "five out of ten" drunk.
He also claimed he had consensual sex with her on the street, that they never entered Woodvale Park and that she didn't seem upset or worried by what occurred between them.
Under cross-examination by a Crown prosecutor, the jury heard McVeigh admit that on occasion he tells "white lies" and that he initially lied to police about his movements over the weekend of October 30/31, 2015.
At one point, he turned to the girl's family who were sitting in the public gallery and said: "What the f*** are you lot laughing at?"
Accused of telling lies to the jury about what happened, when asked by the prosecution "lies just trip off your tongue, don't they", McVeigh replied "sometimes."